There’s more to Kay Foye’s custom knives than meets the eye.
A knife crafted from North Carolina pine burl.
Even in today’s age of impressive technological advances, knives still have a place and purpose in the world, whether it’s prepping dinner or wrangling (and untangling) horses, says The New Jersey native grew up horseback riding and collected knives to help her herd horses, but soon realized, after she was gifted her first expensive, handcrafted knife, that blades can act as more than just primitive survival tools. They can be a “physical form of memories, suspended in time,” she says. Commission a Kay Foye knife, and you’ll get just that.
The Basalt-based artist’s unique inlay work on the handle, or “soul” of the knife, incorporates an eclectic array of materials ranging from fossil, bone and stone to wood and fabric (think denim or leather). Foye uses a library of materials or can personalize a knife with meaningful artifacts from one’s own life. The list of materials clients have sent her includes fresh camel bone, dog hair, human ashes, dragonfly wings, sea glass, bullet casings, buck toenails, dog tags and police badges (the fibula bone of an amputated human leg is the most, shall we say, “out-there” request she’s gotten—thus far).
No matter the kind of material used, the end product, she says, is invariably a “seamless swirl of color and texture” intertwined with memories in the form of “a whimsical mixture of pieces” that creates a treasure—a means of reflection, a piece of art and a tool, all in one. Foye’s process—the various materials she and clients collect, the manipulation of those materials into knives, and, not to be forgotten, the origins and personal sentiments behind the artifacts—“it’s more of a feeling. … It makes the world feel full-circle,” she says. Custom pricing available
Photography by: Jeff holt